Maintaining a healthy level of activity isn’t always as easy as we might think it is. Our technologically-dependent lifestyles can often keep us parked in front of a computer for hours at a time. This lack of movement can lead to a host of different health issues. Keeping to a healthy level of activity is about more than just keeping your weight down. Problems like blood clots, high blood pressure, poor circulation and edema (swelling) can also be caused or exacerbated by low activity levels.
Many people have turned to gadgets like pedometers or fitness trackers that measure the number of steps they take each day. Some of these even set movement goals for you, ten thousand steps per day, for example. Even with this technology setting goals, it can often be difficult to reach them and many people end up pressuring themselves to make up the missed steps by going to the gym. Working out at the gym is a great option, but what about days when that’s not possible? Here are some ways you can increase your daily activity level when you can’t make it to the gym:
- Park Farther Away: It’s force of habit for most of us to find the closest and most convenient parking space to where we are going. Instead, try doing the complete opposite and select the parking spot that is farthest away – making sure that you are safe, of course. It may only add an extra 2 or 3 minutes to your total time but can add up to hundreds of extra steps taken and calories burned.
- Walkie Talkie: Many of us have jobs that require us to be on the phone. If you work in an office environment, it’s likely that you or one of your coworkers has a habit of mindlessly snacking while the person on the other end of the phone talks. Instead of snacking, try standing up and walking a bit if your phone allows for it. Even just standing changes the circulation pattern in your body and can be helpful. If you have to compose presentations, emails, papers, etc. Try walking around and using a voice recorder (most smartphones have them now) to make notes or create an outline. If you get a call on your cell phone that you know will take a while, go for a walk while you talk! Start getting yourself into the habit of moving whenever you are on the phone or brainstorming.
- Turn off the TV: How many of you leave the TV on “for background noise” while you do other things? Turns out, the TV being on tends to encourage people to sit down and watch it when they have a brief moment. Lets say, for example, you are cooking dinner and have a few minutes where the food doesn’t need to be directly tended to. If the TV is on, you’re probably going to sit down and watch it for those few minutes. Instead, play upbeat music while you cook. It will keep you in a good mood and might even encourage just a tiny bit (or maybe a BIG bit) of dancing along!